Message to Malala

Posted on October 21, 2013 by Robert Ringer


Isn’t it amazing how the best aphorisms prove themselves to be true year after year?  Especially the one that tells us that every twenty-four hours the world turns over and somebody else is on top?

Enter “I am Malala.”  It’s not just the title of Malala Yousafzai’s new book; it’s become a global mantra.   Who would have believed, just a couple of years ago, that a sixteen-year-old girl from Pakistan would become one of the most talked about people in the world?

In case you didn’t see Diane Sawyer’s recent interview with Malala — and have been asleep in a cave the past six months or so (or perhaps shamelessly caught up in yet another phony government shutdown) — you know all about Malala by now.  If not, you can type in “I am Malala” on Google and read to your heart’s content from among 150 million web pages.

Shot in the head at point-blank range by a psychopathic Taliban gunman for stubbornly encouraging girls to get an education, Malala not only survived, but has become a worldwide phenomenon, meeting with Queen Elizabeth, soon to be granted honorary citizenship by the Canadian government, and speaking at the United Nations.

Sounding more like Winston Churchill than a sixteen-year-old girl from Pakistan, Malala dazzled her UN audience with a remarkable array of inspirational words such as these:  “The terrorists thought they would change our aims and stop our ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this:  Weakness, fear, and hopelessness died.  Strength, power, and courage was born.”

That Malala not only is alive and well but has become a global celebrity raises the age-old question:  Why do some people escape certain death, and even become rich and/or famous in the process, while others die young from freak accidents right in their own homes?  People are tired of hearing the age-old cliché that life isn’t fair.  The more important question is:  Why isn’t life fair?

In truth, no one has a clue, and if they tell you otherwise, they are either egomaniacal or delusional.  What it all comes down to is that you not only have to play the hand you were dealt at the start of the game, you also have to play whatever cards are dealt to you as the game progresses.

Fortunately, though some cards can be fatal, most are not.  So it’s a waste of time to ask, “Why was I dealt such a bad hand?”  Time is a precious commodity that should be used as efficiently as possible, and one of the most efficient ways you can use it is to figure out the best way to play the cards you’ve been dealt.

In that vein, a good start is to train your mind to see every card in your hand as an opportunity.  Always keep in mind that many of the greatest opportunities are hidden, so you can’t afford to be lazy when it comes to finding those hidden opportunities in your life.

Malala’s hand, and how she has played it thus far, is a classic example of this.  To be born a female in a Third World country that relegates women to servant status, then to be shot in head, is about as bad as the cards get.  To paraphrase a long line of immortal writers and thinkers, the gods are just, no doubt, but fate takes its cues from man — and man can be pretty inhumane.

In the case of Malala, man’s inhumanity was at its worst.  But the fates overrode this inhumanity with the quick action of men and women who were both humane and skilled.  Miraculously surviving the bullet that struck above her left eye, Malala was rushed to England for emergency surgery.

No one expected her to survive nearly intact, if at all.  But they were wrong.  It was one of those times that fate took its cue from “the gods,” and the gods were just.  Here she is, only a year after having been struck in the forehead with a bullet, and her ability to inspire hundreds of millions of people through her words is astounding.  She has found an enormous opportunity in the seemingly horrific hand she was dealt.

“I am Malala” is destined to become the most chanted phrase of our time, regardless of whether or not she manages to escape the thousands of Islamic psychopaths who would like to kill her.  But let’s assume, and hope, that Malala remains safe for a long time to come.  What then?

With that question in mind, my message to Malala is this:

Malala, your potential for making great contributions to mankind is enormous.  My one concern, however, is that, even though you are exceptionally bright and worldly, you are still a child.  And there are evil people in every country in the world who no doubt are already plotting ways to exploit your good intentions for political gain and power.

I say this because you have talked extensively about, and become a symbol for, equal rights, which is admirable.  Equal rights, after all, is what the founding of America was all about.  But, just as Americans lost their way over time, rest assured that there are misguided and even malevolent people who will try to use you as a tool to promote the idea of raw equality.

By raw equality, I mean conveniently dropping the word equal from the term equal rights.  I know you are a voracious reader, Malala, and I hope you will make it a point to read the works of such liberty giants as Rose Wilder Lane, Thomas Paine, and F.A. Hayek, all of whom masterfully explained the difference between equality of results and equality of rights.

Even the legendary Will Durant — a man of the left! — explained it in a straightforward manner when he said, “… freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies.”

Malala, I urge you not allow those who promote tyranny to highjack your influence, your message, or your good intentions.  You are a remarkable, gifted, and thoughtful young lady.  Stay true to your belief in equal rights.  Use your high profile to praise freedom, not equality.  Women in your part of the world know that, in real terms, forced equality translates into equal misery.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

13 responses to “Message to Malala”

  1. Striving2bfair says:

    Excellent article Robert which I fully endorse. We in the UK are very proud indeed to have assisted this inspirational young woman to continue to live and work to change attitudes and behaviours in the whole of the world. If I may, I would like to make a point about your term 'Islamist psychopaths'. I am not a Muslim, let me make clear, indeed although I strive to be a spiritual person, I do not subscribe to any organised religion. However, I am reliably informed by people who are Muslims that the Qu'ran most certainly does not advocate women being treated as servants or second class in any way, which includes them being excluded from education. On a slightly different note, they are not required to wear face, head or body coverings of any kind either. Men and women alike are required to dress modestly. Once again fanatics have hijacked a religion to suit their own warped norms and values.

  2. Johnathan Man says:

    She should have received the Nobel Peace Prize, but once again it goes to someone or some organization underserved.

  3. yooleme says:

    Here, to retort your rhetorical question: “Why isn’t life fair?”… I have come now to inherit your title of “egomaniacal or delusional” – certainly without personal belief I am either, albeit:

    “Fair” is a humanist evaluation and, or at best, an event we go to in the October-fall season; “life” is a God – a.k.a. Triune Creator of the Universe, including Mankind within it – creation, to be given OR taken solely at His discretion!!! … IF profundity of question exists here, in re any form of life-mitigating event[s], it lies squarely within the regime of Mankind’s obedience to that Creator’s Law, taking the form of:


  4. Thiago says:

    "“life” is a God (…) creation, to be given OR taken solely at His discretion!!!"
    Well, from Joshua to the Taliban, people have taken it at His discretion with gusto, haven't they?

  5. Jovan says:

    Interesting read again, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Few points I'd like to comment on:
    for the past few months I have NOT been in the cave (although I would not mind at all), in matter of fact, past few years I spent approximately few hours a day browsing internet and YouTube for videos and reads which resonate with me. Story about Malala surely would, yet I never heard of such story (not until now at least).
    That brings me to the next point you touched and that is of being ego-maniacal and delusional…
    The more I grow the more I am OK with myself and the world around me, the more I am becoming conscious of my own Self, the more I risk of becoming ego-maniacal and delusional for others (those are the words usually used by the people who are that themselves so I am rather surprised to hear them from you, at least the way I understand these words). For others which are concerned only by chasing their own tail (what to eat what to wear what to consume and who to mate with, sure those are important as well, yet in my eyes of secondary importance) being ego-maniacal (paradoxically) is taking responsibility for everything that happens in my world, even for Malala. That does not mean picking up the gun or flying an airplane dropping the bomb on someone's head in revenge (that would be ego-maniacal in my own view).
    Really, it would be great if you expanded on this terms, because I find you to be the man of influence, wisdom, and knowledge, and what does ego-maniacal and delusional means to you?
    When I hear these words I see them as the reflection of other person's perception of the world, which is paradoxically not taking responsibility and not taking personal power which is beyond ego… For me it means I am the center and the creator of the world, and trough me the mighty God and the Christ and the Love (which is all One) is waking up, since I am no different then you or Malala or the Islamist psychopath, because we are all part of One being which is all played by God within) the more I realize that is the only and the right way to feel strength, power, and love in my own life.
    If the psychopathic terrorist or Islamist was more ego-maniacal or delusional realizing that he is the center and creator of his own world he would have never picked up a gun, let alone shoot at someones head. I mean never not even in the wildest dream! If he just knew what he does onto other he is really doing onto himself, there never could possibly exist war and killing of other man(God) etc.
    That brings me to the last point which is my own world which is surprisingly the only one I know of. After reading this article, last night, and about the insight about freedom and equality, and that these two words only go together if the word 'rights' is added after equal, otherwise they are enemies, I woke up this morning and grabbed Lav Tolstoy's War and Peace only to read, on the page 37, the discussion about freedom and equality, in which one character states that those are just big words, and that there is no one who do not love them (this words).
    The point, here ,is that I am reading a discussion about this exact words in the article last night and then re-reading them this morning in the different space-time event is rather approving my conclusion that we are living in the egocentric word, which really is a wonderful once we experience it and accept it.
    That is all for now, please forgive my rather long comment and know that someone across the world appreciates your work and style. Blessings.

  6. george says:

    Read Emerson compensation it is all cause and effect. My best friends are Christians but I am not. Somehow this girl made the right cause and was spared as a result. I am glad she made it REALLY HAPPY but I don't see why she is more important than the people shot and killed in the USA or their survivors. I think they are making too big of a deal out her, to sidetrack us as usual. I wish we had people in office to selfishly help put our country on the right track.

    Hope I didn't offend anyone. I am not looking for trouble.

    • Shankar says:

      This is the magic of western media. They selectively promote people for their benefits. I hope Mr. Riger comment on the hypocrisy in the media.

  7. george says:

    Emerson's compensation it is a beautiful essay.

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  9. Robby Bonfire says:

    Yes, the germane question is: WHY isn't life fair? Just a wild stab, but I think it may have something to do with the "unfairness" of it all being a stimulus for all of us to cram as much VALUE into each living moment as we can, knowing that a sudden turn of fate could reduce our chances for finding success and happiness in life to ashes.

    This is consistent with the theory that life, as we know it, is short, even for those who live to become 100 years of age, for the reason that if life were long, if we lived 1000, or even 10,000 years, each day when we awake we could postpone doing the essential things we must do to live well and maximize our time in this world. With unlimited time, what would be our incentive to act now?

    So I do think Nature, God, wherever you want to give credit or affix the "blame," has a deep understanding of human psychology and has given us just enough time, even if we fully live out our lives, to create value and leave something of value behind. We were put here to accomplish great things, not merely to vegetate, is what Nature and God seem to be saying.

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